David de Cotis: ‘Technopole won’t skip a beat’

City puts its parapublic agencies under microscope

By Robert Frank

City hall put Laval Technopole, the Société de transport de Laval (STL) transit authority and 13 other organizations with close links to the city under review last week.

Laval has hired the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGPPO) to size up each of the 15 parapublic bodies, assess how well they’re governed and check whether their financial reporting is transparent, complete and effective.

City executive committee vice-chairman David de Cotis said that it has given a free hand to IGPPO CEO Michel Nadeau to conduct the review. IPPGO is a joint initiative between Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business and University of Montreal’s École des hautes etudes commerciales.

“It’s 100 percent at Mr. Nadeau’s discretion,” de Cotis told The Suburban in an interview. “The 15 agencies are under the microscope and he has a mandate to review the management structure.”

“Laval has been under the same civic administration since 1989,” he explained. “We needed to step back and do a comprehensive review, to see if they fit within the overall direction that we’re going in.”

“If they’re relevant, we can keep them as they are today,” de Cotis added. “If they’re not, we will have to decide whether to terminate some of these agencies or bring them in-house and operate them under the direct ambit of the city.”

“Exponential growth”

De Cotis is also chairman of some of the largest agencies under review, including STL and Laval Technopole—a business development agency that has helped attract investment worth some $9 billion during the past six years, fuelling Laval’s current economic and demographic boom.

“We’re not skipping a beat, we’re moving ahead,” vowed de Cotis. “The economy is growing exponentially, major corporations are coming here and people want to move to Laval to raise their children here. We’re moving toward a better and more interesting metropolis than in the 1980s.”

He added that the process to hire a replacement for former Laval Technopole CEO Pierre Desroches will likely await Nadeau’s report, which he said will be published by the end of June.

The city announced that Desroches would be ushered out, Dec. 31, soon after de Cotis was appointed to the Technopole board of directors.

“I have assumed [his] role, more on the logistics side but not on a day-to-day basis,” de Cotis said.

In December, the provincial trustees who ran the city for more than six months last year revealed that members of the provincial anti-corruption task force had met with officials at Laval Technopole, which gets most of its budget from the city, and persuaded the trustees to order a deeper audit.

The city’s auditor general subsequently looked at Technopole’s 2012 books and found them satisfactory. Technopole subsequently implemented some ensuing recommendations to improve its contract management and code of ethics. Technopole also provided “additional assurances about the organizations’ real estate transactions.”

Former CEO Desroches is not accused of any wrongdoing.

“The staff at Laval Technopole has done great work and this mandate is in no way related to their performance,” de Cotis concluded.
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